Dating an echoplex
Nashville producer/session guitarist Vic Clay, who lived and played in Akron during the majority of the Echoplex’s production run (including his stint with Rex Humbard’s television show, seen in over 300 markets), received one of the first production models ca. The whereabouts of both units is unknown, as Clay traded in the brown box EP-1 (Serial No. He had to wind tape into the fixed cartridge on his prototype.Once the surplus brown boxes were used, Market Electronics switched to the new grey color, otherwise the units were basically unchanged.Another major improvement of the Echoplex was the patent-applied-for “endless loop magazine” tape cartridge, with twin reels and approximately two minutes of tape.This arrangement provided longer tape life and smoother operation.
This was long before cassette recorders were available and many musicians used this function as they would have a reel-to-reel deck – to play along with themselves, working out harmonies, listening critically, etc.
To accommodate using this recorded track live, a footswitch was employed (instead of a slider switch, as on the Ecco-Fonic), allowing the unit to return to its echo function.
A later prototype would attempt to make this early “sampler” more practical.
The second input jack can be used instead of the first if no echo is desired, but once something is plugged into the first, both have echo.
Unlike later models, the EP-1’s removable metal cover for the tape cartridge and heads included a bracket for wrapping the AC and attached output cables.
Search for dating an echoplex:
Tube Models EP-1 (early-to-mid ’60s): While the original models did not have any designation other than the brand name, later upgrades would necessitate the EP-1 name be applied posthumously.